Coconut Milk and Vegetable Quinoa

by Susan on October 10, 2011

Looking for an excuse to dine out more often? Here’s one: inspiration!

Similar to the White Bean Bruschetta, this dish was inspired by a great restaurant meal. This one came care of Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia. A quinoa and veggie ensemble (that the chef was kind enough to put together for my vegetarian sister-in-law) was the best dish on the table. It put my pappardelle with rabbit ragu to shame.

The secret ingredient? Coconut milk. Thai meets quinoa. Brilliant.

The quinoa was creamy, but still retained that wonderful bite that is so special to the uber-healthy grain. The vegetables added color, crunch, and diversity of flavor, without overwhelming any aspect of the dish. In my rendition, the red pepper flakes were essential, adding a very subtle heat.

The dish boasts a complexity of flavors that is very out-of-whack with how easy it is to make, it is insanely healthy, and tastes fabulous. It’s perfect for a weeknight side dish and you’ll love having leftovers for lunch. It was great with salmon, though I imagine it would pair well with any flavorful fish or shrimp. Next time I’d also make a simple salad to lend some acidity.

As always, add your own twist! Be inspired.

Coconut Milk and Vegetable Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
1/2 can lite coconut milk
1 cup water
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

red onion, cut to 1″ dice
zucchini, cut to 1″ dice
yellow squash, cut to 1″ dice
red pepper, cut to 1″ dice
yellow pepper, cut to 1″ dice
cherry tomatoes, halved

If your quinoa isn’t prewashed, rinse the dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under warm water.

Place rinsed quinoa into a medium saucepan with the coconut milk, water, garlic, salt, and chili flakes. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15-18 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, saute vegetables separately until they are cooked, but still have some crunch. If you prefer roasting them – that will work too!

When quinoa is done, remove pot from heat and let pilaf cool for a few minutes. Spoon in desired amount of vegetables and gently stir to combine.

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